Author Topic: Mt Ruapehu - Dome Summit  (Read 498 times)

Mt Ruapehu - Dome Summit
« on: February 17, 2019, 10:01:23 AM »
30th December 2016

The weather seemed quite alright but the day was not very young anymore, I figured that I need to start going for the summit as quick as possible hence chose to do the chairlifts up to Knoll Ridge Cafe. Quite expensive, at 35$ now but it was for the best, I guess. I had never taken alpine ski chairlifts before anyway, so that was a cool experience!

At 11:20 I began to hike up the track only to realize 20 minutes later that I have taken the wrong one up. I had started to go up the one that leads to Pinnacle Ridge. Not the cache I was after today... Ascent to the Crater Lake could also be possible via Pinnacle Ridge but I had no information or saved tracks for that, so went back down.
Half an hour wasted on this little warm-up, I re-started from KR Cafe around 11:50. I was armed only with the OSM recommended track on my GPS and decided that it would be the best to follow it as closely as I could. I saw quite a few people heading up Pinnacle Ridge (factor that mislead me in the first place) but when I started on the real Crater Lake climb, everyone disappeared. I saw one guy coming down, all geared up with trekking poles and ice spikes and was still unaware how snowy the top actually was.
For the first part, it was easy to find rocky ridges and not to go up on snow but then at some point all of the rocks disappeared and I was left on a blinding white snow slope. My greatest shortcoming for this climb became clear - I had forgotten to take any sunglasses.
For about the next 3,5 hours I walked with squinted eyes most of the time, rejoicing over the fog and clouds that came over when normally those would be more worrying for me, meaning that the weather could turn and I'd have to abandon the hill. I first saw someone who was also going up only at 13:20, close to the Dome already. That was a Kiwi guy named Paul who was contemplating on how to go further. That was this point -39.270554, 175.562615. Normal route on the final ridge was all snowy and he had seen that the guide chose to lead his group down from that point and up a snowy slope further ahead. We decided to give the ridge a go because going down and then up the steep snow slope didn't sound fun, especially for my shoes. Eventually I still made over the ridge alright with my basic hiking boots.
Just before reaching the shelter we encountered a guided group, coming down and then, at the Dome Shelter there was a small crew of climbers. That's everyone I met on the way up!
From the shelter the view was marvelous and I could also see some snowboarders and skiers on surrounding slopes.

So much snow still! I didn't realize that the front door opens separately on top and bottom and went in the shelter through the chimney. Truth was that the top part could still be opened.
My eyes enjoyed the darkness but it was time to move on.

We chose a different route down instead of backtracking. And, boy that was a fun one! We went down to the glacial field from Dome, avoiding the ridge and came back to the decision point where we met up before. From there we went to the ski slopes and had some proper winter fun, sliding down the hill on our bums! The black rubbish bag that I had wisely taken helped me to reach a maximum speed of 33km/h!

I hadn't even thought about making it back in time to go down with the chairlifts but due to the lucky coincidence of them working a bit longer today and our fast descent, we even made it to have a lift back down at 4:30pm! Normally they work until 4pm, I think.

What a fun day!